I’m really pleased to host Avon here today. She’s a new, young author in the genre who’s already won plaudits and awards for her work. It’s delightful to see her success. Today, we’re showcasing her latest release, Power Play by interviewing not Avon, but one of her characters, coach Misha Samarin:
- What did you want to be when you were a kid?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a hockey player. I think maybe I wanted to play goalie, but I did not like the attention so I chose defense instead. I wanted to come to America, play for the NHL and win the Stanley Cup.
- What do you value the most in your friends?
- What is your favorite song?
I’ve never been one to notice music much, but Drake has introduced me to the Arctic Monkeys and the Decemberists. I much prefer riding in the car with him and his “emo rock”, as Max calls it, than Max’s boyband fixation.
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Max would say that I should be less broody. I sometimes wish I could be more of an optimist like he is. But maybe he is optimistic enough for the both of us.
- What word or phrase do you overuse?
“Do it again.” I say this a lot to my players when I am frustrated, and to Max when I’m frustrated for other, more enjoyable reasons.
A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.
After spending guilt-ridden years for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.
Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime to forget, but also a sleazy GM determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets the team, Misha revisits his darkest days, which might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.
Book title: Power Play
Series: Scoring Chances
Book Number: Three
Can be read as a standalone
“I’d never watched this, you know.”
“The YouTube video?” Misha had seen that too. It was filed with angry commenters yelling that he should be deported back to Russia.
Misha blinked. “You’ve seen the commercial, though. Yes?”
“Yeah, I wish I could say I haven’t seen that. But I meant, I didn’t watch this until a few months ago. They played that game on the NHL channel, so I watched it.”
It never occurred to Misha that Max wouldn’t have seen it, but then he remembered that Max was the hero, not the villain of the story. Misha watched the hit play out on the screen. What must that feel like, to watch the moment it all ended? When Max hit the ice, did he know that game was his last? Did Misha know it was his? How had he felt? He couldn’t remember.
The scene switched to the replay. Misha watched dispassionately, retreated into the blinding pain of his migraine, and told himself that it was all right to suffer, that he should, that he deserved it.
Max paused the video. “Look. See what I have there?”
Misha blinked. He had not expected questions. “I—what?”
“The puck, Misha. The puck. Your hit wasn’t late.”
Oh. “Yes. I know.”
Max stared at him. On the television screen, their younger selves were suspended at the moment everything changed.
Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.
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